Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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A few years back one of my daughters got her finger seriously mangled in a slammed door. The nail was loose and her finger was bleeding profusely. So, my wife rushed her to the immediate care center near our house. After waiting for a half hour, they were ushered in to see a doctor who wrapped our daughter’s finger in a gauze bandage and told my wife to call an orthopedic doctor. That was it.

The next day, fortunately, they were able to squeeze in to an orthopedic doctor’s schedule, who stitched our daughter’s nail back on, took an x-ray (the finger was fractured), and wrapped her finger up in gauze and vet tape. Not only was the visit to the urgent care clinic a waste of time and money, but it delayed any actual treatment for our very anxious daughter.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is what always happens at urgent care clinics, but it does raise the question: what should you do if your child gets injured in an accident this summer, the most busy trauma season of the year?

FireworksFourth of July typically means barbecues, picnics, parades and fireworks, but every year amateur fireworks do more than just entertain. According to the National Fire Protection Association, they cause thousands of serious injuries and fires every year. In fact, in recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital, resulting in 12,900 emergency room visits in 2017 alone.

Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars, loss of vision, disfigurement and even death. In addition, fireworks related fires are responsible for an average of $43,000,000 in property loss annually, with many of these fires involving bottle rockets or other fireworks rockets. Even sparklers can reach temperatures of 1000 degrees or more.

Unfortunately, our personal injury attorneys at The Collins Law Firm see the results of the careless use of fireworks. We recently settled a case for a woman who suffered burns and a serious head injury when she was hit by a neighbor’s bottle rocket, an accident which could easily have been avoided.

kids-at-swing-1185902_1920.jpgAs summer approaches and children finish school it’s important to check your yard to make sure that it is free from serious hazards that could injure children. Some of the most common backyard hazards include playsets, zip-lines, trampolines and fire pits. These quick steps will help you make sure that your backyard is safe and fun for the summer:

1. Survey your yard for safety hazards2. Check play structures like playsets, treehouses, zip-lines, and trampolines for wear and tear, if they look unsafe, they probably are. 3. Use caution when grilling or having bonfires. Flames can spread quickly and cause serious injuries. 4. Always supervise children playing or hanging out in the backyard to make sure they are safe. 5. Never start a fire without an adult present. 6. Use all play equipment properly – don’t stand on swings, jump off of trampolines or jump out of trees. 7. Make sure that all play structures have proper safety equipment and instructions on how to properly use the structure.

Safe and fun backyards will make your summer more enjoyable. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a dangerous condition in a backyard or at someone’s home, the attorneys at The Collins Law Firm have experiencing helping victims just like you. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

The Collins Law Firm would like to congratulate founder and partner, Shawn Collins, for being nominated for a Lifetime Achievement honor as one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys for Illinois. Less than one half percent of attorneys in the United States will receive this prestigious award. Shawn will join an elite list of nationally recognized lawyers from around the country, which includes many current and former presidents of major bar associations and attorney groups, and some of the best lawyers in Illinois. Only 100 attorneys in a state can hold the lifetime achievement award, and they are selected through a rigorous process.

Candidates for membership as one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys are initially nominated by elite peers or identified through third party research. Nominees must then pass through a multi-phase screening process that includes more third party research and a complex analysis that includes an attorney’s lifetime legal achievements, professional experience, case results and verdicts, peer reputation, client satisfaction, other honors and community impact, before being selected.

Shawn is honored to be included among the elite lawyers who have accepted a lifetime Achievement honor as one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys. As Shawn says: “My selection as a Top 100 Attorney is a great honor, of course, but one that must be shared with my wife and daughters, law partners, associates, and staff, as nothing I have accomplished as a lawyer would have been possible without their support and professionalism.”

lady-justice-2388500_1920.jpgChoosing a lawyer when you or your business have been injured by another individual or company can feel like driving a car in a new city without GPS. You don’t know where to turn or what to look for. It can feel almost impossible, especially if you don’t know any lawyers. Many people ask friends or business acquaintances for recommendations, which can be a good start. Others turn to the internet to begin a confusing and daunting search. Either way, the consequences of choosing the wrong lawyer can be catastrophic. So, what do you need to know? What qualifications are you looking for? How do you know who to trust? How do you know the lawyers are good at their job? Here are some important things you need to consider when looking for the right lawyer to represent you.

Does the lawyer have experience? To be precise, this question should be worded: Does the lawyer have the right kind of experience? Look on the law firm website. Do they list your type of problem on their practice area page? What areas of the law are emphasized? Do they have a page that covers the issues involved with your kind of case? Do the lawyers’ profiles talk about working on your kind of case? This is important. The law is very complicated and it isn’t possible for a single lawyer to be able to handle every type of case well. Most lawyers concentrate in specific areas of the law. If a lawyer does mainly banking, for example, then she may not be the right choice for a personal injury case, and vice versa. If you have an environmental case, you will need an environmental lawyer. If you have a business litigation problem, choose a business litigation lawyer, and so on. In addition, check out whether the lawyer is a defense lawyer or a plaintiffs’ lawyer. And finally, ask the lawyer directly if he or she has experience handling your kind of case.

What kind of qualifications does the lawyer have? Start with his or her education. Research the law school he or she attended. Is it well regarded? Does the lawyer have other relevant education? An accounting degree, for example, can be very useful if you have a case with lots of business financials involved. Has the lawyer taught law school; written books, articles or blogs on a certain area of the law; or created videos on specific legal topics? All of these things help to prove that a lawyer is qualified to handle your case.

hospice-1794351_1920.jpgAmong all the issues plaguing the state of Illinois, one very important issue has not gotten much press coverage until recently.

In February, the Chicago Tribune published an expose on Illinois’ troubled group homes for disabled adults and their failure to reduce abuse and neglect rates. In fact, the Tribune’s research found that, despite promises of reform, allegations of abuse and neglect reached a new high in 2017 of more than 3600 cases, according to Illinois’ Auditor General. Think about that: 3600 vulnerable, disabled adults suffering from abuse or neglect in group homes that we, the taxpayers, are paying for. It is unconscionable.

The Illinois Department of Human Services, which oversees the state’s group homes, does not dispute the findings of the Auditor General, but says new reforms are planned which will address some of the issues. “For the first time, group homes will be ranked in a web-based scorecard, which includes inspection results and links to online copies of investigative findings involving abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.”1 The state has also hired more investigators and plans to implement a system where families of group home residents automatically receive a copy of state investigations. We hope that, this time, they follow through on these proposed reforms, but why has it taken so long?

Local press coverage of our most recent lawsuit. In this case, The Collins Law Firm is representing the family of a developmentally disabled teenage girl who was sexually assaulted after being led away from Chaddock, a supposedly secure facility in Quincy, IL. The family is suing Chaddock for emotional distress and negligent supervision.

See the WGEM news coverage here:

http://www.wgem.com/story/37449215/2018/02/07/family-sues-chaddock-claims-negligence-in-daughters-sex-assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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Quincy, Illinois- The sexual assault of a 15 year-old Chaddock resident is now an issue for the courts. The minor, Jane Doe, was snuck out of Chaddock’s supposedly secure facility on August 26, 2017 by two girls known to DCFS as troublemakers. Jane Doe was then taken to a party, where she was drugged, beaten and sexually assaulted. Now her family is suing Chaddock for emotional distress and negligent supervision.

Chaddock is a DCFS licensed facility in Quincy, IL that is known nationally for its care of developmentally disabled and emotionally distressed patients, but is known locally to Quincy Police as a facility that lets its residents escape. Quincy Police have responded to Chaddock’s calls reporting that its residents have “run” more than 100 times in the past year.

Attorneys Jeffrey Cisowski, Shawn Collins, Edward Manzke, John Risvold and John Sopuch III of The Collins Law Firm were named to this year’s Super Lawyers list.

The Collins Law Firm based in Naperville, Illinois, is pleased to announce the following attorneys have been included in the 2018 Super Lawyers list for Illinois. This honor is only granted to the top five percent of lawyers in the state based on performance and peer recognition. Attorneys are selected from over70 recognized practice areas after a rigorous selection process conducted through independent investigation, peer nomination and evaluation. Selections are made on an annual basis.

Jeffrey Cisowski represents bankers, finance clients and commercial litigation cases. He graduated summa cum laude with majors in finance, economics and German from North Central College in Naperville. Jeff was involved in many activities, but his passion for finance led him to volunteer for World Relief and teach classes in financial literacy. Jeff went on to earn his J.D. and graduate with honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law. While at Chicago-Kent, Jeff was recognized as the highest performer for legal writing and research, Trial Advocacy and other key areas of litigation and won the CALI Award. Jeff focuses his law practice on representing banks, manufacturers and other types of businesses.

courtroom-898931_1920.jpgOne of the surest topics on which to get agreement is that we should punish the filing of “frivolous” lawsuits. There are legitimate debates to be had over the definition of “frivolous”, who decides what is “frivolous”, and what the punishment (usually called a “sanction”) should be. For years, and for very good reason, there has been wide agreement that it’s best to leave these decisions to the judge on the case. Because he/she is in the best position to know whether a lawsuit is so lacking in merit (so “frivolous”) that it does not deserve to be in a court room, and if so, what the sanction should be for the party and/or lawyer who filed it.

As a lawyer who mostly files (rather than defends) lawsuits, I completely agree with the sanctioning of those who bring frivolous cases to court. Why? Because they not only bring discredit to my profession, but they occupy the taxpayer-funded resources of the court with cases that don’t deserve them, thereby making those resources unavailable (or less available) for those cases that do deserve them.

And I also agree that it must be the judge on the case who decides what is “frivolous”, whether there should be a sanction, and, if so, and what the sanction should be. This does not work perfectly, of course-nothing does-but I don’t believe there can be any responsible doubt that the judge is in the best position to make these decisions. That judge is in the best position, for example, to decide whether the lawsuit stretching the legal precedent is just a meritless money grab by an unscrupulous lawyer–who should be sanctioned– or a good faith effort by the lawyer to try to expand the law to help the powerless in society. In which case, no sanction should be imposed. Because some of the most important legal cases in our history started out with good faith efforts like this.

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